Moneysaving Mayhem

20 May 2015

May has been a busy money-saving month of mayhem, so far, but we have managed to complete the barn painting and have another corral, or small paddock, fenced, planted the last of this year's trees, sown seeds and I set up a makeshift wild bird feeding station outside the caravan, where the resident woodpecker is now visiting several times each day. That's my frugal entertainment. Life on site in a mobile home is great!

If you are lucky, John Irving quote

I'm going to begin this latest post with a quote from John Irving that definitely reflects the mood of the day. The photo is one I took of the nearby loch when it was perfectly calm and reflective. I think some of my long-standing friends and family are wondering if I have taken up permanent residence in the mobile home, now known as my micro-ranch. Yes, it's a far cry from a sandstone cottage, but it most definitely has everything I need and greatly increases the time I can spend working on the Frugaldom Project whenever the weather permits. The field is a mere half mile from here. What isn't there to like? I have luxuries here that aren't available at the house, such as Sky TV, an indoor heated swimming pool, pitch and putt golf, fishing, site shop, various free to attend social activities and all are included within the annual site rental fees that equate to under £40 per week.

Night and day at Three Lochs

The site is not a year-round residential site, but I can spend 11 months of the year here, leaving February as the month for catching up elsewhere, visiting friends and family or getting jobs done elsewhere. With the spare room and living room bed settee here, I can have friends and family to stay anytime, providing a frugal holiday option for many and also less travelling for those coming to help out at Frugaldom. The site has facilities for campervans, tourers and tents as well as renting out chalets, but I think the majority of the caravans may be privately owned holiday homes. To be absolutely honest, I haven't a clue why we didn't look at this option instead of renting an assortment of houses over a 10-year period while saving to buy! It could have saved thousands of pounds! I think I've spent more money moving house over the past 15 years than it costs to buy a decent ex-rental or secondhand mobile home on this site! I'm not being paid to say this, but if I could find frugalers to buy the two plots and 'vans next to me, we could have a great little frugal community going here - I could even provide allotment-style gardens at Frugaldom for food growing.

Raspberry muffins

Right now, I have a hand wash drying outdoors, pegged to the airer, and a tray of raspberry muffins baking in the oven, alongside quiche. It's taking time to accustom myself to a full size gas oven after using the microwave and mini oven for so long, but I've managed not to burn anything beyond use. There's also the fact that the cooker doubles as heating in the open plan layout of the caravan. I'm a few items short in the kitchen department, but am managing fine without having to buy anything else. My total spends have amounted to £4 for a plastic wash basin and a cheap frying pan. My latest frugal visitor was able to provide me with some soup bowls, glasses and a small pressure cooker, plus I have the picnic set, breadmaker and slow cooker here: all is well in the food preparation department and I'm cooking and baking as much as I did in the house. Electricity rates are higher than I'm used to and gas cylinder prices vary shockingly around UK. In the space of 5 weeks, I have used a full 47kg bottle of gas at the almighty price of £70 but in my defence, that is what powers the water boiler, shower, main heating and cooker. My electricity consumption here is slightly lower than at the house and there's no coal or logs to buy. Swings and roundabouts, but I'm learning as I go how to cut costs in a caravan.

Fencing and barn painting at Frugaldom

Out on the prairie that is Frugaldom, barn painting has been completed and we've had the second corral (it's really a small paddock) fenced. The weather hasn't been helpful in the least, so ditch-digging is a very slow process, but I have managed to get some more seeds sown and marked off the main boundary next to the old farm track to show where the new hedge will be getting planted at the end of this year before boundary fencing is eventually erected.

Frugalhugel raised bed

I made a start on the first compost heap and now have all the old fence posts freed up to mark out the areas destined for raised beds and the start of vegetable production. I also started a third 'frugalhugel' bed, where I intend trying a small square foot garden system. It just needs packing with dried grass, woodchips and some soil or compost to complete it.

Frugal social, leisure and entertainment on a budget

Final round-up for today, I have been recycling milk cartons into bird feeders and growing pods (see Mishy pod vertical growing challenge in the forums), sowing herb seeds, collecting firewood for the house, repotting tomato seeds and enjoying watching the daily visits from the resident woodpeckers. To top it all off, I received a lovely bottle of wine as a 'welcome to the site' gift and then Mr Eco Arts won a bottle of wine for submitting the winning landscape photograph in a competition, so he traded it for homemade soup and and a freshly baked loaf when he was over painting the barn at the weekend.

Right now, the sun has decided to blaze and the sky is bright blue, so I've taken the muffins out of the oven and am off out to Frugaldom to arrange for some logs to be moved and see what else I can fit into the next couple of hours. May as well make the most of this surprisingly sunny afternoon. I hope it's indicative of the weather for this coming holiday weekend, as there's a party here at the park with free entertainment for the kids - I suspect the grand children will be here for that. You can't get more frugal than free!

NYK Media / Frugaldom


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